One of the most effective ways to engender real interest in bird conservation is by getting involved in some hands-on science. Below are a few well-known examples.
Exciting ongoing citizen science projects include:
- Christmas Bird Count: Locally, in Central Arkansas, use the “Contact Us” button at upper left to volunteer for a count. If you are inexperienced, don’t worry, you will be placed in a group with more experienced people. Nationally, contact Geoff LeBaron, CBC Editor, National Audubon Society (212) 979-3083.
- International Migratory Bird Count. Birds are counted on a county wide basis on the 2nd Saturday in May each year for the purpose of establishing migration patterns. Use the “Contact Us” button at upper left to volunteer. The count is explained in detail at IMBC.
- Shore Bird Count. An assortment of agencies and volunteers in the lower Mississippi Valley have established this count to document the importance of the area for the migration of shorebirds. The regional contact person is: Randy Wilson of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Vicksburg ( randy_wilson at fws.gov).
- Important Bird Area Program. Nominate areas of which you are aware that should be preserved for the benefit of birds. Contact Fred Baumgarten, IBA National Coordinator (212) 979-3081 fbaumgarten at audubon.org
- The North American Breeding Bird Survey Keith Pardieck, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (301) 497-5843 http://www.mbr.nbs.gov/bbs/bbs. The Arkansas coordinator is Kenny Nichols. You can reach him at: kingbird at alltel.net. To participate you must be proficient at identifying birds by their calls.
- The Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University sponsors a number of citizen science projects that individuals may join. The following projects are currently available:
- Project FeederWatch: count birds at your feeder for science. e-mail: feederwatch at cornell.edu
- The Birdhouse Network: Collect breeding data on birds nesting in your bird boxes. e-mail birdhouse at cornell.edu.
- Birds in Forested Landscapes: Study what habitats forest dwelling birds prefer. e-mail forest_birds at cornell.edu.
- EBird is an online site for reporting your individual bird observations. Here you can analyze data reported across the U.S. or by locality. Go to www.birdsource.org/ebird .
- Golden-winded Warbler Atlas Project: Survey breeding sites of golden-wings, blue-wings, and hybrids. In Arkansas this study would be confined to the Ozarks. e-mail forest_birds at cornell.edu.
- House Finch Disease Survey: help track the spread of the eye disease affecting House
- For additional more specialized projects to www.birdsource.org.